Overall rating and opinion of "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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Discussing"Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane

Post by toyinafolalu » 23 Apr 2018, 10:57

Ironbark Hill belongs to the genre of other fiction,with an interplay of the element of romance,,gender and racial inequalities.We would agree the author uses the first person narrative technique from the point of view of Natalie Chapman who recalls her life experiences from her 16th year.Natalie,who is confronted with a sadist and alcoholic step father who is irresponsible goes to work for the Glovers and subsequently falls in love with her Boss, Bruce Glover.She aspires to be a Teacher of arts.Natalie loves her family-mum,handicapped brother,Joey,sister and her calf,Libby.She is beaten by Alex Townsend,her step father when she refuses to sell the calf so they could source funds to fix the farm truck.Alex dies in the process of having the calf sold as she refuses to asist Alex when he falls into the creek.
In my own opinion I feel Natalie, falling in love with Bruce Glover is morally wrong.With the affection that Rosemary Glover has for her she should have exercised restraint.Natalie is hardworking with a reasonable sense of responsibility as she goes to work as a housekeeper for the Glovers.She could be described as vindictive in the way she refuses to render help to Alex when he falls into the creek while trying to pull Libby on.Alex dies as a result of not getting immediate help which could only have been given by Natalie.
Jennie Linnane did a great job in making the novel relatable by showcasing the Australian landscapes,cultures and language in the development of the novel.I will surely read this novel over and over again.Congrats to the author on BOTM.

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Post by heidifinger » 23 Apr 2018, 11:34

Riverlutz wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 17:02
Ironbark review...

The story was great, my only issue was at times they get into too many details for things that really didn't mean much for the actual storyline, but overall a good read.

Times were hard back then and the story shows of how the struggle is real.

I would not rate it book of the month , but would definitely recommend to friends to read...
I found it odd for a book of the month, but this is my first book of the month I have read. I am curious if all will be similar. The book didn't seem to be professionally edited.
Although, I enjoyed reading it. It was a very quick read for me, just a few hours.

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Post by Lgs1089 » 23 Apr 2018, 13:57

Overall, I loved Ironbark Hill. What I liked most was the descriptive language and incorporation of so many literary elements throughout the book. However, aside from Natalie, I found the other characters to be flat. Becuase the story had so many other elements pushing the plot forward, I would still recommend this book to others.
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Post by elizab8 » 24 Apr 2018, 02:00

I have giving this book a 4-4 rating. It has shown how families are spoiled by death and paroxyism
Natalie story tells it all of a disrupt family life. Her ludricous stepfather and her humble mother, who thinks only of pleasing her husband eventhough life with him is futile. The author again reveals to its reader the density of heartbreaks, and the solidarity of growing up, but eventhough the content of the story reflects on such grave intentious actions, there is yet still hope for something better. In chapter one "Home and Family" the author states: She is now sixteen and is still at home, and no one in the "household" is remembering Natalie birthday. At age sixteen every or most teenager hopes for a party, a gift or just a quite family brunch; a good breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But this did not happen for Natalie. She even reflects back to her feelings for Mr. Glover and has never been kissed. Teenagers enjoy these things. What the author is saying Natalie home life is boring. And most readers will feel a sense of remorse, hoping that their family will not be like hers.

And there's Grandpa, who lives with them but buries himself within his own senility of old age, and who once own the property, but turned it over to his son-in-law Alex who is arrogant and ludricous, and based and what the author states, he does not seem to know what is happening around him, concerns of the way is daughter(Alex wife) is being treated. The authour did not share much interest in the lives of Natalies siblings Joey, Shirley and little Robyn who feels so scare when she wets her bed. This part will make the readers laugh.

Natalie is an avid artist who reflects on the art of bright neons, and hope someday to fully accomplish it. She also thinks that their happiness will be the riddance of her stepfather, and wish that he could be killed at work, and as a reader I think she is hurt with such an uncomfortable family life growing up in the realms of poverty, all because of him.

The author literacy towards this book should be recommended to all readers, both children and adult, base on contents, which is not fictional, but happening in our daily lives. "To beware of ludicrous step-parents, because, it could be either a step-father or step-mother who is cruel as Alex."

"IronBark Hill" should be put on every book shelf, the authour has literally state facts maybe with a little fiction, but the book is good enough for reading. It may not be the best seller for the month of April but it is good enough to read.

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Post by gen_g » 24 Apr 2018, 10:58

I think the book is very interesting in the sense that it shows a 16 year old's struggle to make sense of the world around her, and to be courageous enough to face the challenges presented to her head-on. This is a book detailing Natalie's emotional and psychological development, and is definitely an inspirational read.

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Post by JR_Benavidez » 24 Apr 2018, 11:15

The book takes an interesting approach to both coming of age and the reflection of wisdom. Natalie can easily relate to all ages. The author writes in a way that touches on very hard topics without seeming to overwhelm the reader: racism, an alcoholic step-father and an attempted rape. As Natalie reflects on these things as well as the taboo relationship with an older married man it's not with pain or regret but just it is a fact of life.
Her mother may be perceived as weak yet she didn't have an easy life either. A rancher's daughter, the love of her life dead in a tragic accident and yet she raised her daughter to be woman mature at the age of sixteen able to pursue her dreams when she herself was unable too.
Definitely would recommend.

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Post by Jmteachmom » 24 Apr 2018, 20:30

Christina Rose wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 18:27
heidifinger wrote:
09 Apr 2018, 14:38
Reading the reviews and comments of the book I am excited to get reading. I just downloaded it and will read it this week.
I hope you are enjoying the book! I still have to make my way through it as well. It seems well received, outside of the ending.
I think the ending is hard to grasp because our 21st century minds just do not get it! Have an open mind and understanding that we live in a different society and culture. But I do love the questions it brings up!!!

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Post by Lundemelia » 25 Apr 2018, 00:59

I enjoyed this book. I found Natalie a strong and inspiring woman due to the things that she went through and she was easily relatable which made me feel more in touch with her as a character.

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Post by Human314 » 25 Apr 2018, 11:04

I really enjoyed this book. It was wonderfully written and I felt so much sympathy for Natalie. Even though the main character was well written I don't think the other characters were as well developed. Perhaps with the exception of Alex, all of the minor characters felt very two dimensional and formulaic.

Even though I didn't enjoy the minor characters I would still recommend this book to other people. All of the moments seemed very genuine and were filled with emotion. Although I thought that Natalie's conversion to atheism seemed to come out of nowhere and the dialogue in that section sounded like something that a new atheist would say rather than a young woman who was turning away from religion.

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Post by keidav447 » 25 Apr 2018, 17:50

:D What is your overall opinion of the "Ironbark Hill"? This is a good book for those who have simular situations from what I've read within this book. I enjoyed reading a book that is different from what I'm use to reading which opens one mind to things that are new or different than the normal. You do get drawn into the book and feel everything you read as if you are being touched by the writers emotions.

What do you like most about it? It gave me joy whenever good things happened to Natalie, and her thoughts of what she wanted out of life adds good meaning to what people want in general.

What do you like least? Physical abuse in any type of way is not good for anybody to have to deal with and can cause health problems within that persons life.

Will you recommend the book to other people? I will recommend this book to others.

Why or why not? I feel everyone can reap the benefits from beginning, middle, to end by reading this book. It is good to go outside the box sometimes. It opens you up to wonders and things you never thought you knew.

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Post by holsam_87 » 25 Apr 2018, 23:47

gali wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 01:37
This is a discussion topic for the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane

What is your overall opinion of the "Ironbark Hill"? What do you like most about it? What do you like least? Will you recommend the book to other people? Why or why not?

Please remember to add your actual rating using the book's page on
Overall I really enjoyed how everything came together and feel that Natalie is a very sympathetic character that anyone can empathize with. I really enjoyed how Natalie was portrayed and how she interacted with the other characters. I didn't enjoy the portrayal of abuse or the slurs that were thrown at Natalie and Joey since they have Aboriginal blood. I would definitely recommend this to others since it shows a different spin on the typical family, especially since this takes place in Australia. I would rate this book with 4 out of 4 stars.
Samantha Holtsclaw

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Post by cristinaro » 26 Apr 2018, 01:54

I think the novel is a wonderful tribute to Jennie Linane's belief that a parent-child relationship should be stronger than any romance or friendship. Told in the first person by a mature Natalie, the story is the nostalgic rememoration of what the protagonist calls "one bright year of my life." In fact, the year Natalie Chapman turns 16 is a one in which she is victim of both physical and psychological abuse in the middle of her dysfunctional family.
What I loved most about this novel is its simplicity and the pervading sadness hidden in Natalie's struggle to survive the consequences of a traumatic childhood. She may perceive Alex's death as a liberation, but I think she never fully overcame her abuse as her lifelong relationship with Bruce Glover proves. Her art may be her refuge and salvation. At the same time, it may become a permanent prison, a way of avoiding real life.
On the whole, Ironbark Hill is beautifully written and could easily serve as an example to the kind of pain and trauma people have to live with because of other people's lack of control and irresponsibility.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

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Post by gen_g » 26 Apr 2018, 08:35

It was a great read, and I would recommend it to people who are looking for an enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours' worth of free time.

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Post by Jmteachmom » 26 Apr 2018, 09:59

I absolutely loved this book! The character development and complex layers were on point. It was a read that not only was enjoyable but really made the reader look at their own thoughts or views and ask deep questions. Happy Reading!

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Post by charmaineperit » 26 Apr 2018, 22:38

lesler wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 15:33
I thought the book was very good. I feel so much sympathy for the main character, and hope she's ok. I will definitely recommend this book to other people, because of the excellent personification of the characters.
Seems like a great book. I like books where I got attached to the characters.

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